Purposeful Play & Education Outside the Classroom

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founded in 2009
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Coordinator | Vince
Coordinator | Vince


Enjoy an immersive cultural experience by living with a host family in the community, and taking part in every day family life deep in rural Africa.
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Discover.Learn.Empower - Discover the awes of rural Africa, learn about its community, culture & rustic life, and empower individuals to be stronger in an evolving world This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

The location & background

In the far northeast of South Africa, on the border of the Kruger National Park, lies the first (or last) village in South Africa, Bennde-Mutale. This forgotten corner of South Africa is known for still being a ‘true’ Africa; people living off the land, foraging, living in rondavels, making their own fired bricks or plain mud bricks and with the occasional wild animal from the park breaking through the fence; elephant and lion being the most common. 

Areas which border national parks are often in very remote areas and unfortunately typified by poor education, poor access to health, very high unemployment, high HIV and TB levels, high levels of teenage pregnancy and with little hope for skills development.  This leads to a multitude of cyclical problems with each generation, which can be very hard to alleviate never mind reverse.  

More often than not these communities are at the end of the line for everything, and that includes primary schools where some teachers have to travel for 4 to 5 hours just to reach school.  Schools often do not have a teacher for every class, many classes are currently joined together, or a class can go with no teachers for a whole year.  Or teachers have 2 or 3 roles to play at the school on top of being a teacher.  

Ultimately, it is the children who suffer, who do not get the education they deserve, who end up pregnant at 15 years old, or with no transferable skills forever destined to be a ‘casual labour’ for the rest of their lives.

The project

Bennde-Mutale is now the hub for a new sports project, called ‘World Parks, World Cup’ a programme for the schools/communities which border national parks.  This includes communities not only in South Africa but also in Zimbabwe who border Gonarezhou National Park.  This area is collectively known as the ‘Pafuri Node’ of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park and where volunteers will be based.

WPWC vision is about Creating lasting development among communities in the Pafuri Node of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park through sport.’  We are achieving this through the establishment of:

  • football based educational programmes  in schools and after-school 
  • creation of girls football teams at primary schools
  • regional girls football league
  • annual events such as our Score to Conserve Tournament
  • cross-border exchanges
This is where you can help!

We need volunteers to help our local community coaches and teachers to plan and implement our football programme; we need strong female role models for our girls' football teams, we need people who enjoy playing football, coaching, teaching and people with adventurous souls.  

Volunteers will enjoy an in-depth cultural experience, living with a  host family whilst assisting teachers in local primary schools (grades 5 to 7) in South Africa and assisting in our purposeful play and education outside the classroom social impact programme, in the afternoon. Zimbabwe will be the same though we will be also working with secondary schools as well. 

As part of our programme, volunteers will be expected to assist in the planning and implementation of our football based programme with local schools and communities; this will happen alongside either the regional volunteer coordinator and or local community coach and takes up to 2 hours per day. Volunteers will have access to planning material, as well as access to our online sports planning programme; volunteers are welcome also to use what knowledge and skills they have to enhance the programme.  

Volunteers will also be tasked with helping in the organising and implementation of our annual events; 

  • International Women's Day
  • International Day of Peace 
  • World AIDs day 
  • Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park Championship for community and female under 21 teams.
In addition to this volunteers will help supplement the typical school day by assisting a local teacher with the teaching of English or math mainly, for 3 to 4 hours per day, if a volunteer has a specific subject they prefer, such as science or geography then arrangements can be made for the volunteer to help teach this.

Volunteers do not need to bring any items with them, though we encourage them to share our campaign for ultra-durable footballs through One World Play Project with their social media network: www.oneworldplayproject.com/campaign/world-parks-world-cup/ and if they have space for a ball or two in their luggage then to bring some balls with them.

Volunteers can expect to be entertained with weekend trips to the surrounding area which includes; the Kruger National Park,  Africas biggest Baobab, historic ancient ruins, Limpopo River and much more..

Typical day

This being Africa, and South Africa at that, the best-laid plans are always open to changes on the ground. 

Volunteers can expect an early start as schools start around 0730am,  where volunteers will stay for up to 4 hours assisting a local teacher in the classroom and occasionally in the school office.  This will be followed up with up to 2 hours of football for social impact teaching or general football practice sometimes during the school hours and sometimes afterschool hours.

A local teachers day lasts from 0730 to 1430, so volunteers can expect to fit into this time frame, with 2 days a week with afternoon sessions from 1630 to 1830,  volunteers aren't expected to wait at the school for their lessons to start.

Lunch can be had at school with the local teachers if the volunteers want to or they can bring lunch with them,  if a volunteers host family is close to the school, which we try to organise, then they are welcome to go home for lunch.

For our football project, we follow a programme designed by Coaches Across Continents, a global leader in sport for social impact, where local coaches are still learning to develop their own games which tackle local social issues and challenge the children to seek ways to solve them.  Volunteers will have access to training games developed by CAC and our local coaches, as well as access to Sport Session Planner, an online games planner which has a large library of planned games to implement.

If volunteers have a specific interest or skills then we will try our best to accommodate them, this can include teaching specific subjects, (maths and English are needed the most), sports such as netball or volleyball, helping the local Home Based Care ladies  who look after the elderly, infirm and terminally ill, or working in the office promoting, designing and generally helping with the day to day running of our World Parks, World Cup programme.

Free-time activities

As part of the programme, volunteers can expect a braai (bbq) on Friday afternoons/evening as well as a day trip or overnight weekend excursions  every week, these include trips to the Kruger National Park, local waterfalls, Africa's biggest Baobab and local provincial Big 5 game reserves for fishing, camping and walking.

Volunteers are free to explore the local area, attend local cultural events and enjoy a cold beer at the local shebeens (pubs) where music is freely played, a visit to a local shebeen is a must even if you don't drink, they are the hubs of community life for some.  

Watching local football matches on the weekend is another must for volunteers, as these locally competitive and vibrant games get you into the beating heart of the community, where dancing, singing and occasional use of juju is used to increase the team's chances of winning!



In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Criminal Background Check
Education Requirements
Math, english and sciences at High School level
Required Documents
CV, Medical and Travel Insurance
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Volunteers who have a sports coaching qualification, experience in teaching and travelling.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 08:00 - 14:30

What's Included

Services by Friends of Mutale

 Programme inclusions:

  • Transfer from the airport to a guest house in Johannesburg (round-trip)
  • One night's stay in Johannesburg, upon arrival and departure
  • Transfer to the bus station (round-trip)  
  • Coach transfer from Johannesburg to Louis Trichardt (round-trip, nearest main town to placement area)
  • Transfer from Louis Trichardt to placement (round-trip)
  • One night's stay in Louis Trichardt, if required, upon arrival and departure 
  • Food for the duration of stay (excluding little luxuries; chocolate, etc.) 
  • Accommodation at placement with a host family/private accommodation for the duration of stay 
  • All activities 
  • 24-hour support
  • Free online education on sport for social development.

Airport Pickup at O.R. Tambo International Airport

Depending on the arrival time of the volunteers, volunteers will be met and collected by a guesthouse at the airport, who they will spend the evening with, the following morning volunteers will be transported to the bus/coach station.  Volunteers will be met by the volunteer coordinator in Louis Trichardt where food shopping will happen and then the final journey to the placement site.

If the bus is late, volunteers will spend the night in Louis Trichardt, at our expense and then travel with the volunteer coordinator the following morning to arrive at site during the day.


Accommodation is typically in a traditional Venda home, a rondavel - a thatched, circular home.  Volunteers will have a private room and ablution facilities will be rustic, but functional.  Hot water is available.  Special dietary needs can be happily accommodated. 

Volunteers are welcome to shadow host families during daily chores - such as collecting water and firewood, laundering clothes at the river and gathering livestock at sunset.  

Volunteers can enjoy engaging their host family - by playing games, sharing photos and conversing in English (children of families who have hosted volunteers are typically the most advanced English speakers in the community!

Guest Family
Food & Beverages

Food will be provided for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the host family will help with the cooking for breakfast and dinner.  Volunteers will have access to a kettle and a toaster/sandwich maker.  

Volunteers are encouraged to cook a traditional meal for their host families when they feel comfortable to do so.

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg. We assist you to find cheap flights to South Africa.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for South Africa provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in South Africa you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for South Africa.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

We accept volunteers throughout the year on a rolling basis, except in December when everything shuts down. If local schools are on holidays, then we hold holiday clubs for the children locally.

On arrival, volunteers can expect an orientation period to meet their host families, the village leaders, so they are aware volunteers are in the area, have a tour of the local area - including the school the volunteer will be assisting in, and some lessons in the local Venda language. Orientation lasts the first 3 days.

Volunteers are requested to try and make their arrival in South Africa preferably on a Tuesday, this means then that they can start the following Monday after travelling and orientation at the site.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
4 - 12 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
4 weeks (min. stay)
$ 2,400
6 weeks
$ 3,200
8 weeks
$ 3,600
12 weeks (max. stay)
$ 3,900
Average fees
$ 463 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Friends of Mutale will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Friends of Mutale during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
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Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Friends of Mutale cancels your trip
Support & Mediation
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Friends of Mutale.

What are people saying about Volunteer World?

  Africa Southern Africa South Africa  Masisi, Bennde-Mutale

Purposeful Play & Education Outside the Classroom

Discover.Learn.Empower - Discover the awes of rural Africa, learn about its community, culture & rustic life, and empower individuals to be stronger in an evolving world


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